In Episode 7 of the second season of the Urban Astronomer Podcast, I chat with Dr Jarita Holbrook of the University of the Western Cape about her interest in cultural astronomy. This was one of the longer and more interesting interviews of my career, and our conversation continued for some time after the microphones were turned off! Unfortunately, the audio quality isn’t as good as I’d hoped. There’s a terrible echo on my voice which comes and goes as the recording plays. I’ve done my best to clean it up, but it was just a bad recording and there’s only so much I can do! Still, we’re all clearly audible and I believe the content is good enough to justify publishing.
Dr Jarita Holbrook1:18
Dr Holbrook is a professor of physics at the University of the Western Cape. She has a special interest in cultural astronomy. She is an expert on African Indigenous Astronomy and the principal investigator of the Astronomy & Society group at UWC. Her intellectual interest in African cultural astronomy has resulted in academic positions in applied anthropology and women and gender studies before her returning to physics.
She’s also a documentary film maker, whose 2017 film “Black Suns: An Astrophysics Adventure” won the Jury Prize at the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival.
Last weekend I presented a talk at ScopeX on Orbital Mechanics. I used Kerbal Space Program to demonstrate some of the more unintuitive aspects of maneuvering through space. It went pretty well, although I ran out of time and had to cut myself short! I was really excited to meet people who do actually listen to the show. One of them, Heystek Grobler, is a researcher at the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomical Observatory. The radio telescope from this observatory is less than a half hour’s drive from where I live, and I’ve always wanted to pay them a visit and record an interview for this show. Somehow that never happened, but hopefully Heystek will agree to chat to us in Season Three, and tell us a little about the history of the observatory, and what sort of work he does there.
I’m trying out a new app which creates communities around podcasts. It’s called Flick, and is driven through an app on your phone or tablet. I’ve created a group especially for the Urban Astronomer Podcast. If you’d like to try it out then you can tap the link on your mobile device. They’ve promised all sorts of interesting functionality in future versions of the app. I think it has a lot of potential. But like anything online community, it can only work if people actually join in and participate. I’m there most days, so if you have questions and would like to chat in a format that’s a little more intimate than Twitter, or more immediate than email, why not give it a try?
- Dr Holbrook on Facebook
- Trailer for Black Suns: An Astrophysics Adventure
- Science Tourist on YouTube